Gujarat Police Lathi Charged Mediapersons Covering Clash at Temple

Mediapersons were lathi charged in Gujarat's Jaungadh by the police while they were covering a clash between two rival groups of Swaminarayan temple board during the board's election on Sunday, 12 May.

Sandesh TV cameraperson Vipul Boricha told The Quint that the incident took place post-election when one of the supporters of Dev Paksha sect of the temple allegedly attacked a priest of Acharya Paksha sect.

"“As we got to know that someone attacked a swami, we ran towards the temple. When the police were taking the culprit, we asked for a comment.”" - Vipul Boricha

While the cameraperson asked for the byte of the cop who was taking the culprit, he was pushed and heckled by the police, who later resorted to lathi charge of the mediapersons.

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Boricha said, "The police pushed me and and slapped me as I was recording. They lathi charged us and tried to hurt the camera. I told them, 'do anything to me but not to the camera'." However, some of his equipment were damaged during the lathi charge, he said.

According to Indian Express, the SP said, "The police inspector prevented mediapersons from taking the arrested man’s sound byte. Upon that, mediapersons asked the inspector to give them a sound byte.”

"“However, Inspectors are not authorised to give soundbytes to media. Only SP and Deputy SPs can. As mediapersons insisted on a soundbyte, the inspector pushed the camera of a cameraperson. The cameraperson in response pushed the inspector.”" - SP Saurabh Singh

Singh told the Indian Express, "It was only at the end of polling that the minor incident took place. We believe the inspector pushing the camera of a mediaperson was uncalled for. Similarly, the mediaperson pushing the inspector was also uncalled for."

Sandesh TV reporter Raheem Lakhani told The Quint that though they have not lodged an FIR about the incident, they have sent a video recording of the incident to the SP and have asked him to take action.

"We have been sitting on a dharna outside SP office since last night, but they are in no mood to take action. We will not move until action is taken," Lakhani said.

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(With inputs from Indian Express)

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